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Doctors at Work Podcast.

Episode #85

How to make career decisions: towards rather than away moves. With Fiona Setch

Mat Daniel


How do you make career decisions? Our careers are never static, they change, we change, and the world around us changes. In this episode, Fiona Setch and I discuss our own career decisions, and identify the importance of doing moves that take you towards your desired future, rather than moves aimed at escaping the current challenges. The key to dealing with career dissatisfaction and critical incidents is then to identify what it is that you want, and to take your life and career in that direction. This might not mean large moves, sometimes small adjustments can help, as can conscious focus on what you enjoy about your current role.

Fiona Setch is a coach. You can find her at

If you liked this episode you might also enjoy episode 72 on career reinvention after 50, episode 70 in mid career reinvention, 66 on career decisions, 53  and 46 on life balance, episode 23 which contains my tips for making career decisions, and episode 38 and 9 that talk about career coaching.

You can also watch at
Production: Shot by Polachek

Podcast Transcript

Mat: [00:00:00] Welcome to Doctors at Work. My name is Mat Daniel, and this podcast is about doctors careers. It’s part of my mission to help doctors create successful and meaningful careers. And today we’re talking about how you make career decisions. Now our careers are never static. They change, we change, the world around us changes.

And in this episode, Fiona, Sech and I discuss our own career decisions and identify the importance of doing moves that take us towards our desired future, rather than moves aimed at escaping the current challenges. The key to dealing with career dissatisfaction and critical incidents is then to identify what it is that you want and to take your life and career decisions in that direction.

Now that might not mean large moves, sometimes small adjustments can help, asking a conscious focus on what you enjoy in your current role.

Welcome Fiona, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Fiona: Hello Mtt, thank you for inviting me [00:01:00] to take part in your podcast. So I’m, uh, VSECH. I had a first career as a nurse. which I really enjoyed. And I was, my last clinical job was a charge nurse at an AIDS hospice in London, which I had been working in, in the AIDS, HIV and AIDS field for about eight years.

And I decided that I wanted to continue with leadership, not management. And so I took the opportunity to move into the training department. At London Lighthouse and, uh, move into education and training. Um, so I, I studied teaching adults and started learning about coaching, although it wasn’t called coaching then.

And so then I moved back to the Northeast and worked for Marie Curie Cancer Care doing staff development. So that was developing the porters, the nurses. [00:02:00] the kitchen staff, the volunteers, and the doctors and nurses. And they all had, they had an organizational restructure and they made the post that I was in and I loved redundant.

So I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t want to be the regional manager, which was the post I was expected to apply for. So I listened to what people were asking me. And for some time, people have been asking me if I could do work for their organizations. So I had been doing work. Um, sort of informally with some doctors and the deanery of medicine.

Uh, that was formal, that was. Do you remember those days when there used to be deaneries? Um, they contacted me and asked me if I could do some work for them. So I started doing some coaching with, uh, registrars in training. Um, helping them with leadership and specific issues they were having. during their training and career coaching, as well as I started working at [00:03:00] another hospice in Newcastle doing staff development one day a week.

Um, so my business sort of transformed. I didn’t plan it. I suddenly thought, Oh, I’m doing all this work for other people. Maybe I should have a business to do this. So, so that’s when Fiona Sech, uh, started. That was 22 years ago and I’ve been working for myself ever since. Um, I love it. I’m working with. I’m mainly coaching, but I do some consultancy work with organizations doing Uh, sort of team development.

Um, and I have a life coaching and a supervision practice as well. What

Mat: a variety. What a variety. And it’s interesting and very relevant to today because the topic for us today is how to make career decisions. Um, certainly it sounds like you’ve made lots of career decisions and, um, I’m probably going to come back and, you know, maybe ask you about how you’ve made those decisions.

But perhaps if I kind of think how I’ve made some of my career decisions. [00:04:00] Um, I mean, I nearly didn’t go into medical school because sort of when I came to UK and was from, uh, wasn’t, didn’t grow up in UK and was, was told that, that, that medicine was too difficult and they shouldn’t do it. So I said, okay, so initially I didn’t do it, but then bounce back to it.

But then often people ask me how I ended up in ENT. Um, and ENT for me was, was kind of almost a coincidence in the sense that, that I took a job that had six, that had three months something else and three months ENT. And the other thing I didn’t particularly like, the thing I thought I would like turned out I didn’t like and ENT just happens to come with it.

And I came to ENT and I loved it and I loved the people, I love the culture, the atmosphere, I love the patient, I love the fact that you could do stuff, that you could make people better very quickly. And that kind of very. Very much resonated with me. And of course, then I kind of stayed in ENT, um, from, from there onwards.

Um, and I don’t know, can you sort of tell me a bit more about your career decision making? How do you, how did you make those career

Fiona: decisions? Yes, well, [00:05:00] I, um, I’ve had quite a difficult late teenage, uh, experience. Um, my dad died when I was quite young and my mum was a teacher. And, um, she got knocked down by a car when I was about 15.

And so academically, a lot of my, I wasn’t really motivated to study. So, um, when I finished my A levels, I went to Italy as a nanny because I just wanted to escape from the situation at home. And I worked as a nanny in Milan and I made some great friends and there was my lifelong, love of ice cream and coffee.

Uh, and I, and And I enjoyed seeing life from a different perspective. Then while I was there, my grandparents, um, my, my granny had always wanted to be a nurse, but couldn’t be because she had to work as a secretary, uh, because her family couldn’t afford for [00:06:00] her, for her to study. So I just thought, Oh, well, maybe, maybe I could look at nursing.

So I applied for nursing while I was in Italy and came back. Um, and that was when nursing was the old sort of apprenticeship style. So way before, uh, it was a degree. Um, and then, so I did my nurse training and the thing that I loved the most was meeting people and make it a contribution. I learned loads from people who, um, seemed to have forgotten what it was like to be learning.

And, you know, they had a uniform, they were qualified, or they were a consultant. And the way that they spoke to people, I just was always paying attention to how it made people feel. And I guess I was banking it up for future reference, really. Um, and anyway, I did Burns Nursing when I was a student and I loved that.

So I got a job in that when I first qualified. I did that for 18 months and I went to Saudi [00:07:00] Arabia for a year and did Burns Nursing. And then I was, my plan was, because I learned to scuba dive in Saudi Arabia, I came back to London to study a course on nursing people with HIV. And my plan at that time was go back to Saudi, earn money, go traveling and diving.

Okay. But when I did the course in London, I got really involved with HIV work, I did a lot of volunteering with some of the organizations, started nursing, and spent eight wonderful years, um, working, um, in an acute ward. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, well, that’s what it is now, it was the Old St.

Stephen’s Hospital that was then rebuilt. And, um, had some really profound experiences which nursing people my age, who I, and having friends that were HIV positive, made me think about my own mortality and really what did I want to do with my life? Um, and one of my [00:08:00] friends when I was helping him plan his funeral, um, my dear friend Trevor, who I’d met on night duty when I first moved, went to London, um, were planning his funeral and he said to me one day, that’s enough about me, what are you going to do next?

Because you’ve been doing this for a while now. And that gave me the sort of kick up the backside to really think about what I wanted to do. And I was clear, I didn’t want to be a manager, but I loved the leadership aspect. I guess that goes from when I was a student and observing the way that the people who, you know, who were the people that made people feel good about themselves and their roles.

They were the ones who listened. They were the ones who empowered, who acknowledged what, what people were doing. And so, Um, I guess that sort of got me thinking about, well, perhaps I could work in education. And I remember sitting with my clinical supervisor in the garden at London Lighthouse, um, being really upset because I thought I’m [00:09:00] leaving the nursing profession, which felt very dramatic.

And my supervisor said, you know what, if you don’t like it, you can always get another job in nursing. Which, when you’re, when you’re, when you’re qualified in healthcare, there’s always a job for us. Isn’t there? So, I moved, I transitioned, and it was the best thing I ever did. So, I’m able to make a difference to patients, but I’m able to make that through making sure that the healthcare professionals are well supported.

You know, whether that’s a volunteer, or a nurse, or a doctor. Making sure that they are looking after themselves, so they’re the best, they bring their best selves. To work, or if they need some support because they’re really struggling, um, with the workload or with emotionally how they’re feeling, then being able to now be in a coaching capacity to help them, um, to be the beam, be their better selves, you know, that might mean taking some time out that might mean looking at what they [00:10:00] can do differently.

So that’s where my career has been really, and lockdown, quite difficult because all the work I do.

Is icing on the cake, really? And so the organizations that I was working for, because I wasn’t an essential worker, they just stopped any coaching that they had. So I hadn’t, I didn’t have any work for six months and that was a bit of a reality check. My supervisor had been wanting me to go online Skype to do coaching or supervision for a long time.

She’d been gently encouraging me, but I was very much of the opinion of, oh, no face-to-face is what I enjoy the most. So suddenly with lockdown I was forced to learn about going online and here we are now. I mean, it’s revolutionized what I do and I really enjoy it.

Mat: Absolutely. And it’s interesting if I kind of extract the decision making.

So, you know, my, my decision making in terms of how I [00:11:00] ended up in ENT, you know, it was just coincidence. I found somewhere and it felt right. And I stayed and, you know, and I was lucky to walk into something and think, yeah, you know, this is, this, this is my family. This is my world. And I think what I heard you say is you talked about it.

You knew what you were interested in and you followed your interest and, you know, you, you, you, you identified what it is that you wanted. Maybe in my sense with ENT, at least I didn’t know what I wanted. I just happened to find it and it landed with me. Whereas what you’ve outlined is you’ve outlined, you knew what you wanted, or at least had an idea.

And then, you know, you follow that direction. Um, and so it evolved. And I mean, is that, how do people normally make career decisions?

Fiona: Um, well, we, I, people get a lot of advice now when they’re at school or university. Certainly when I was at school, I was told I was very tall, so I’d make a good policewoman.

Had never been on [00:12:00] my radar, but there wasn’t, there wasn’t the sort of, uh, there wasn’t the same sort of, uh, resources that there are now. Um, so there are, there are people who can help and there also are coaches. You know, like we are, there are coaches who can help. What I, what I help people with is giving them a space to think about who they are, what they enjoy, what they find challenging, what are the things they might like to have done.

The most, the saddest coaching clients I’ve ever had are people who, whose parents thought they should be a lawyer or a solicitor or a dentist. And they never wanted to be. And then they come to coaching because they are, they’ve had, they’ve had to take some time out because they’re not happy or fulfilled.

But at this stage in their life, they’ve got a mortgage and they’ve got, you know, they’ve got a certain lifestyle. So all of these skills are transferable and, um, and you [00:13:00] can, you can adapt your career. There are so many different facets, for example, in, in roles that you can get involved with in medicine or in nursing.

Um, and so taking the, thinking about what it is that you really want to do, what coaching gives you is the, the confidential space to think. So one of the areas I’m trained in is fireworks career coaching, which is a really creative way. of thinking about career. So it’s a bit like if you’ve got a lovely box of fireworks and you, you go and you press the touch, but you have to look at the fireworks and place them and think about them so that there’s safety.

And, um, and, and fireworks is a bit like that. It’s about exploring and dreaming about what you might want to do. Um, and you know, back then, you know, when I was nursing, if you told me that, you know, in 30 years time, You’ll be running your own business, and you’ll be helping people, [00:14:00] um, make decisions about their careers, and you’ll be running training courses online for the NHS, I would have thought.

This job didn’t exist back then. So that, that’s,

Mat: um, interesting, the idea that, that, you know, you’ve, you’ve outlined that, that people need to focus on what it is that they enjoy, you know, what, what they would love to do, um, what they’re good at. Cause you know, one of the things that I think happens, um, a lot, you know, sort of the, the kind of the people around me is often people are a bit fed up and burnt out or, you know, You know, sort of things are difficult and there is sort of lots of things are difficult in healthcare and elsewhere in the world, yeah, so it’s not just healthcare that has challenges, but often our jobs are tricky.

And then there’s always sort of this kind of thing that that, you know, do I leave medicine, should I do something else, you know, or do I need to work fewer hours. And that kind of strikes me as a very different thing. To what you’ve [00:15:00] outlined, because maybe if I use the term, what you’ve outlined is you’ve outlined towards moves.

So I’m moving towards a desired future. Yeah. You know, if you think your career journey, you knew these are the things you wanted and you move towards them. And you know, this is, you wanted to do more of that kind of stuff. So you went there and you created the future, you created the business, you 30 years ago, but all the time.

You know, maybe you knew who you were, what you’re interested in, what you want to do, what kind of person you want to be, and then you moved towards, versus maybe the opposite of that is people that say, you know, I want to work fewer hours. I don’t want as much admin. I don’t like electronic patient records, etc.

And, you know, and I would call that, you know, away moves, moving away from problems, as opposed to in your case, moving towards what you want to do. Um, does that kind of sound like a

Fiona: distinction? Yes, it does. And I often work with, um, getting with visual, a visual analogue skill, which we’re all, you know, we’re all [00:16:00] familiar with, with patients.

A visual analogue skill for something like pain. But if you were to get a visual analogue for moving away from something or moving towards it, um, finding out what it is that somebody would like to do. Often people will say. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want that job. Or if they’re looking for a relationship, they’ll tell you everything they don’t want with the relationship.

And what that’s doing is it’s blocking your possibility of what would you like? So, you know, so I’ll say, tell me about the job that you’ve enjoyed or tell me about the sort of relationship you’d like to have that would enhance your life or compliment your life. And then when people start focusing on that, So they’re moving away from, moving away from, towards what they would like.

And getting them to think about the steps that they need to take, so If it’s to find out about a different, um, speciality, [00:17:00] or perhaps moving into education in that speciality. What are the, what are the concrete steps you can take to do that? One of them might be, contact somebody and talk to them about what they did.

Um, and find out and then that might inspire you. In Newcastle deanery many years ago, uh, there was a doctor, a consultant anesthetist called Nancy Redfern who did some, um, a small piece of research into what motivated people to choose the specialties they went into. And the findings were, it was actually when you were a medical student, um, and then when you were a house officer going to different departments and being inspired by leaders.

And when you, so like you said, I felt this was my, my, um, work tribe. This is what I felt comfortable with. And I’m guessing there were some, there’d be some doctors who really inspired you and made you think this is what I’d like to do. So, um, that’s certainly what [00:18:00] I was thinking about, but I wasn’t thinking about it many years ago.

Do you remember me saying I paid attention to the way that people behaved? Um, and it made me think about what not to, you know, how I would never be, you know, say the staff nurse who humiliated all the student nurses and like to make them cry. You know, there were people around like that or the surgeons who threw things at people.

I remember doing my surgical experience in a plastic surgery department and being horrified at the way that the consultant threw something at, you know, the, the nurses because he was in a bad mood. Um, and then, and then, you know, but it’s those. When you look at those situations, if you think about what can I learn from it, um, you know, it’s not rocket science, don’t throw something at somebody, or they’re not going to feel very good about it, but sometimes people never stop to think.

Mat: I hope you’re enjoying the show. Please click subscribe, so you’ll be notified when new episodes become available. This [00:19:00] podcast is part of my mission to help doctors create successful and meaningful careers. You can be part of that mission too by forwarding this show to one person who you think might benefit from listening.

Thank you Now on with the

Fiona: show

Mat: So so it’s that flick from what don’t I want, you know into what do I want and maybe Maybe I just want to spend a little bit more time on the on the what don’t I want Um on their way moves and then before we can put that to rest because at the beginning you said there’ll be people who you know, let’s sort of say did medicine because the families wanted them to do it or because Because they didn’t realize what it was like or they knew what it was like But then 10 years later things are completely changed.

Yeah for whatever reason but let’s let’s say sort of there’s somebody who’s done it But now they’ve got a family. They’ve got a mortgage, you know, sort of financially The reality is that that you know medicine is relatively well paid and and you know Yes, there are better paid jobs out [00:20:00] there But it’s not going to be that easy to find sort of a job that that pays them as well Um, as as medicine might pay, um, and but that kind of person is is a little bit stuck So and you know, and and they have to be there They don’t particularly enjoy the job, but they have to be there because you know for financial reasons family reasons whole life reasons What what tips would you give?

To that kind of person to help them manage.

Fiona: So one of the things I do with my clients who might be in that situation, um, is they would, they would book some sessions of coaching so that they knew they had a space to come and because we can work in this world now, they don’t have to travel, um, you know, they can do it from the comfort of their own office or home or wherever they want to do it.

And it’s actually getting them to think about their job. But maybe from what it was like when they first went into it because sometimes people kind of lose [00:21:00] what motivated them and what might sometimes on a good day motivate them, gets lost because they’re tired or they’re, you know, all the extra demands that they have on them.

So sometimes it’s getting back to what brought you into medicine and looking at your job plan now, which are the bits that you enjoy, which are the bits that you would like to pause or delegate to somebody else. So, and then thinking about firstly, That process can sometimes give people the thought that actually I could change the hours that I work, carve out some time for myself that might help me feel better about where I am in my career, or it could be that they decide they actually want to change the role they’re in, um, or, or make a sideways move into, um, you know, a horizontal move into a different type of role, um, looking at all the different roles that are available.

Um, so it’s spending [00:22:00] time and getting them to think about who are they and what would they like to, what would they, what do they think they would like to be doing that would help them feel more fulfilled? You know, I’ve coached some people who’ve said things like, I need to work as many hours as I can now when my children are young, because when they’re older, then, then they’ll have time to spend with them.

And I’ve said to a couple of people, maybe, you know, By then your children won’t know you, you know, so, you know, do you have to have that driver of work so hard now? Are there other things that you can do to fulfill that part of what you’re thinking about? Um, but I think sometimes people just, they get into one way of thinking and they just haven’t got any time to think.

So what I offer them is a space to really think about who they are, As a human being and not just about their role as a doctor. Um, and you know, [00:23:00] there are many wonderful aspects to the work that they do, but there’s also other things that are interested in. So my husband’s a vet. And his career is similar, you know, it’s similar sort of trajectory to, uh, medicine.

Um, and when we had our son, uh, because we don’t have a lot, didn’t have a lot of family support us, uh, because I had a group of people on a presentation skills course, um, which meant I had, I couldn’t leave when we got a phone call from the nursery to say Jamie had conjunctivitis and somebody needed to, he had to come away and everyone on our list, nobody could come.

So that critical incident of our childcare made us look at how could we manage things and he decided to stop working full time and to condense his hours. So he started working three, three long days and one, you know, and then he would do on calls once a month. And actually that really helped. [00:24:00] his relationship with Jamie because he would have worked ridiculous hours and never known him, but this gave him the opportunity also to do some other things, so he just rediscovered his love of music, he started having guitar lessons, he now rose on one of his days off, and then we occasionally have time together, which is really lovely.

Um, but, but it’s usually some kind of critical incident, you know, something that’s happening at work or at home or an illness that makes you stop and think about it. If you can be thinking about it as you, without having that critical incident, it might come from a better place of, well, I, I can only do this.

that there are a whole range of things that we can do if we allow ourselves the space to do it. So, so it’s

Mat: that the, the people assume that things are fixed and nothing can be done or, or people assume that it either stays exactly the same or I do some kind of massive radical shift in a [00:25:00] totally different direction.

But actually what you’ve outlined is First of all, I think you’ve outlined a slight mindset shift, which is, okay, you know, what do I enjoy? Why am I doing what I’m doing? So it’s recognizing that even, even if you don’t change anything, you can look for the opportunities that are good. You can look for stuff that you enjoy.

You can say, why am I doing that? What do I enjoy? And, you know, if I enjoy, If I enjoy connecting people, I enjoy making people better. I enjoy communication, you know, sort of whatever it is that you enjoy is, is valuing those things. Even if nothing changes about the job, you can focus on valuing the stuff that’s important to you.

And, you know, and that kind of goes, goes a long way. So even the choice might be, you know, I can’t make any big decisions and sort of, and there are things that are really difficult, which, which often are. But despite that, there are things that are good about my job. There are things that I can enjoy and consciously maybe focusing on those bits, as you said, why am I doing that?

What do I enjoy? You know, [00:26:00] focusing on that thing, but then also sort of maybe something there about, it doesn’t have to be a massive move. You know, you can sort of do small moves, you know, do It’s about like, you know, a long day versus more short days or a slight sideways move or, you know, sort of slight rearrangement in hours or, you know, where you do the job.

Um, and, um, and again, that’s, that’s not about making a massive move, but that’s kind of about quite small. adjustments to how you work, um, that, that hopefully, um, will make, um, a difference. And again, we kind of, we’ve, we, we, we, we’ve gone into the towards move again, isn’t it? Sort of, which is, you know, well, what is it that I do want?

Yeah. So it, it sounds like that, that understanding what it is that I want, that seems to be crucial to a good career decision. So, I mean, how do people figure out what they want?

Fiona: Well, I think the first step is not feeling like you have no control, because I think when people get really overwhelmed with work, um, [00:27:00] and if they are, we hear the term burnout a lot in healthcare, don’t we, especially, and I think if you’re feeling exhausted and you’re not, you can’t kind of see, I mean, people talk about light at the end of the tunnel as well, don’t they?

If you just see, if you just see there’s one road and you have to carry on like that. you, you limit your choices. So, you know, that’s, and what you’re talking about is that growth mindset of being able to look at, there are some options. And one of the options is to stay the same. So that’s always what I’m looking with people that what’s the position you’re in and what are your options?

And one of them is always, once you’ve explored it, actually, now I’ve looked at it. If I do a bit of fine tuning with my job, it’s okay. Or, These are the other areas I’ve looked at, and I can now see that there are some options for me. I don’t have to change right now, but I know that I can, and that makes me [00:28:00] feel better.

That’s often what people say. That’s something that I suddenly can see that there are other options because it’s almost like people are a bit blinkered. Their head’s down, they’re just getting on. Yeah. Um,

Mat: and that, that’s, um, I think that’s important. ’cause I think that happens a lot in medicine is that, you know, PE people are blinkered and people don’t necessarily see.

And that probably, as you say, that probably comes from that burnout mindset that, that, you know, people are burnt out and that, that, that clouds, it clouds our thinking, doesn’t it, when that happens? So, so that, um, instead of seeing a world of possibilities out there, you know, what, what we’re seeing is, is, is repeated, um, obstacles, um, or reasons why, um, why we can’t move forward.

So, um, I think for some people, I mean, there often are tough decisions, you know, you talked about sort of whether you reduce hours or, or, um, or make sideways moves and, and, you know, and of course [00:29:00] that kind of comes with, you know, with lots and lots of downside because there’s that letting go of professional identity.

So, you know, maybe you talked about, you know, your sort of, you were a nurse and then, you know, you weren’t. So you kind of outlined that change in professional identity. So, you know, let’s say if somebody is, you know, sort of a full time Um gp or a full time surgeon and then they go down sort of to you know, one and a half days a week So they’re no longer they’re sort of they’re not they’re no longer the main person.

So there’s this there’s that and there’s perhaps some Some finances so people might say, you know, I I would i’d love to do this You know, i’d love to do that and it would be wonderful. But then that means giving up my identity It means giving up my friends. It means giving up money financial security for my family What advice would you give to people when they’re faced with those kind of difficult decisions?

Fiona: Well, if I think of myself, Matt, I’ll always be a nurse. Part of me is always, you know, I have a nursing background. My first career was a nurse and that’s [00:30:00] influenced everything that I’ve gone on to do. So one of the things that I joyously do now, as well as top development at the hospice, is at one day a week I do patient feedback, where I sit next to patients and I ask them about their care and they, some of them give me yes, no answers, but some of them give me, we have amazing conversations.

Um, and I think, So I think it’s about what makes up your identity, you know, is it just that, you know, being a doctor or, and that’s what with coaching, what coaching helps you to do is you see the whole of you rather than just you as a doctor. So if you’re having your appraisal, um, once a year, as you do, uh, your appraiser may not help you do that, may not help you look at that.

It’s all about the job plan. Whereas in coaching, we look at. The whole of you. So your [00:31:00] development needs as a human being as well as. as a professional. Um, and you don’t need to lose your whole identity because you make a change. You can still bring that approach to whatever it is that you’re doing.

Mat: And making sort of difficult financial family decisions.

So, you know, we’ve got on one hand, I could, I could retrain, I could go back into training. I sort of, I could, I could do, you know, a postgraduate degree and sort of, and do something aligned, um, versus, But I’ve got a family to support. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I’ve got elderly parents that are here. I can’t travel the world because my children are at school and my elderly parents are here.

So how, how, how does one handle sort of that kind of dilemma?

Fiona: Well, I think again, talking about it and talking to the team that’s around you in your home and outside work, Because they may not know how unhappy you are. They may [00:32:00] think you’re grumpy or you’re just fed up. But they may not understand that you are feeling the way that you’re feeling.

And if you can’t talk about it, I’m always amazed sometimes when I meet people who don’t really know what their partners do. Choose not to, you know, a bit like in Friends where nobody knew what Chandler Bing did. No. Um, but I think it’s, I find it very interesting. I’ve always found it very interesting to know what my husband’s, how he works and what he does.

But I know that’s not how everyone, you know, how everyone is. But, you know, if he’s not happy in his job, we talk about, we talked about what we could do to change it. And then things came to a head a bit when, when we had the incident where somebody needed to look after Jamie and he talked, his, his work were very understanding.

Um, and he, you know, he was able to take the afternoon off to look after [00:33:00] Jamie. And then we had to change what we were doing because I couldn’t have a sustainable business model of running training courses for people or, or going to do coaching in businesses. If I had to come back because my son had conjunctivitis, you know, so that, that model worked really well and it gave us, we were able to look at the whole of our lives and not just our working roles.

So I guess that’s one of the things which is, is always important to be able to talk about. not just and then you discuss your finances and you discuss what’s really important to you both or to you and your partner or to you and you know, so that people are aware.

Mat: So does that, we’re kind of back to questioning assumptions that we make because there’s an assumption that, you know, This is how much money we need.

This is where I need to be. This is how I need to work. And, and it’s about sort of saying, well, actually, you know, who, who, who says that that’s how it needs [00:34:00] to be. So, and, and again, you know, the kind of the overall theme really. That I’m hearing in terms of our discussion today is that about, you know, really understanding who, who you are, what you enjoy, what you like doing, and whatever you do, moving towards don’t try and run away from stuff, but make towards moves in a way moves.

And then also sort of something about, you know, the. the assumptions and maybe that kind of whether that’s binary thinking or assuming that everybody else agrees and knows what you’re doing or assuming that you know what everybody else is doing and it just sort of challenging those assumptions and you know that kind of opens possibilities and maybe perhaps I’ll bring us to a close Fiona and maybe if I could ask you to perhaps summarize what we talked about or maybe tell me what would be your top tips for doctors at work when it comes to career decision making.

Fiona: Well, one of the metaphors that I use a lot in my coaching and in my life is, um, stopping to smell the roses in life. Um, um, [00:35:00] because if you think of a rose bush, you’ll have You’ll have blossoming flowers, you’ll have thorns, and you’ll have buds that are coming, you know, just about to come in to blossom.

So there are, if you think of your career, there are things that you quite enjoy, or that you really enjoy. There are thorny things, and there are things that might come to fruition, but it’s about how you tend that. It’s about how you, you know, Water the plant. It’s about how you cut it back if it needs, um, cutting back.

And I think there are times in our lives where we need to really stop and cut back on where we are. Think about why are we doing this? How are we spending our money? What do we do? What do we need to do? So I think stopping, I, I would say I’m a coach. I would obviously advocate that people have coaching, but if you’ve never had coaching before, just try it out because I think you’ll be amazed at what happens.

It’s not about performance management. It’s [00:36:00] about you be discovering your authentic self. looking at the options that you have, discovering options that you never knew you had. Um, and then giving you a space where you can think out loud when nobody’s going to ask you or judge you, but help you to find out what you would like to do.

And if you can take some steps to getting there, it might not be, you’ll do it next week, but you might have a plan that you’re moving towards what it is you really want to do, rather than being unhappy. Or moving away from it to, um, just be, just being unhappy, frustrated, feeling that you don’t have any control.

By having options, it opens up possibility of curious thinking rather than ruminating thinking, which is just spiraling down to being fed up. What we do [00:37:00] in coaching is we open up. What I call curiosity or possibility thinking by being curious about your career, and we know that, um, our neurobiology, if you even just say the word curious, you get a little hit with dopamine, because it makes us go, Ooh, well, that might be possible.

I’m very glad sitting in the garden at Lighthouse in 1993

or 1992, whichever year it was, I remember sitting with my supervisor. Being quite upset that I was thinking of leaving nursing and he said to me look if you move into education and training It’s not right for you. Get another nursing job. Now if I hadn’t done that then we wouldn’t be sitting here talking now I might be a stressed out manager in some NHS units or I might have retired in who knows but here I am with a thriving coaching business with lots of roses and [00:38:00] Yeah,

Mat: wonderful.

Thank you very much Fiona

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